The Courier-Mail

Farah bait for Bunnies

- JAMES PHELPS

TIGERS coach Jason Taylor tried to swap Robbie Farah for South Sydney’s Queensland State of Origin forward Chris McQueen after an extraordin­ary meeting where the NSW Origin No.9 was told he would be training with plumbers and carpenters in a part-time squad should he refuse to quit the club.

In the ultimate insult to the 236-game veteran, Farah was told he would be exiled from the fulltime squad and forced to train after-hours with a group of part-time footballer­s in the NSW Cup before Taylor called South Sydney and offered to trade the club legend for McQueen.

A Rabbitohs official last night confirmed Taylor called South Sydney boss John Lee and attempted to pull off an 11th-hour player swap after Farah defiantly declared: “I’ll stay and fight for my spot.”

Farah and his agent Sam Ayoub momentaril­y walked out of a meeting that they were called to about 6.30pm on Tuesday after Tigers assistant coach Rod Reddy told the $1 million-a-year player he would not be part of the fulltime squad if he refused to leave the club.

Farah said yesterday he had two years left on his deal and was entitled to stay.

FORMER Wests Tigers coach Mick Potter has accused the club of playing “Fantasy League with other people’s money” which has led to the split with Robbie Farah. The Tigers face being left paying a large portion of Farah’s $1 million-a-season salary over the final two years of his contract despite the fact the star hooker will be playing for another club.

And while backing the Tigers’ decision to hand power to new coach Jason Taylor, Potter revealed he warned the club against signing Farah to a four-year deal back in 2013.

Under the Tigers’ dysfunctio­nal former management, Potter said he had so little control over playing personnel that he was even questioned about signing powerhouse forward Martin Taupau.

Potter made pleas to only offer Farah a two-year deal but said he did not have control over the decision.

“No I didn’t,” he said. “My input was dismissed.

“I thought that was the right thing to do for Robbie and the club.

“And if he was still going well at the end of the two years, you could have kept him on.

“But you don’t sign a 30year-old for four years, I don’t think.”

Asked who made the decision, Potter said: “The then board and the CEO (Grant Mayer) at the time.

“I wasn’t in control of the tenure of most of the players.”

The struggling Tigers will now be left to carry the can for the final two years of what is believed to be a $1 million-aseason contract, if Farah does leave for another NRL club and does not get the same cash.

Asked if he felt disappoint­ed by the damage coaching the Tigers did to his reputation, Potter said: “Not all, there were some very lovely people at Wests Tigers.

“But it was an organisati­on that had so many issues and needed so many changes.

“I have never been at a club like that but it was out of my control.

“They are heading in the right direction now but it is going to take a little while.

“(Jason Taylor) has got what a head coach should have – the power and autonomy of his roster and his staff.

“Call it naivety, know what you call it.

“They were trying to play ‘Fantasy League’ with real players but other people’s money instead of looking at it as a business.”

Asked if he had his time over would he still have accepted the Tigers’ coaching job, Potter said: “Well, no. Probably not. But it was the only gig going.

“They were talking about the board change for 12 months.

“If that had have happened I think things could have been slightly different.

“I am not saying all the problems would have been solved but they would be a year ahead of where they are now.”

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